In the Philippines, turning eighteen is pretty much a big deal for Filipinas. I guess I was one of those excited ones that I was planning mine a year early. I wanted mine to be special so, of course, I initially wanted a big party. I was fourth year high school when I was planning for my debut. That’s also the same year I got into KPOP, my group of friends were also KPOP fans. So we all talked about our birthdays, and then we decided what if we spend the first year of our adult life together? Since 18 years old is considered the legal age here in the Philippines, we got to plan the trip all to ourselves, with no parents involved.
Planning the trip was waaaaay more fun than planning a party. We had places where we wanted to go and visit. Three of my friends confirmed to travel with me, Pia, Ica, and Claud. Our trip was set for October 2011, and we were totally psyched! Our fangirl trip was probably one of the most memorable experiences I have. It was too good to be true, traveling with your real friends, going to a country that you totally adore, and also traveling for the first time independently.
Of course, I had my worries. Traveling with no adults for the first time is scary but I guess I was confident that we were all gonna take care of each other and not leave one behind. Quickly, 2011 came, we all graduated high school. We enter our new schools as college students and only Ica and Pia are together in the same college. This didn’t stop our excitement for our trip. Despite us leaving our high school and entering college life, our KPOP fangirl hearts still kept intact. Soon enough, October came and we were all just so damn excited.
So the day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived and we are super thrilled to arrive in Seoul. Pia got ahead of us and spent a couple of days with her mom. Upon our arrival at the airport, we saw Pia holding up a sign board with our fangirl group name (HA HA HA) by the gates and of course I stepped up my airport fashion as it is actually a thing in South Korea. Looking back, actually made me think, damn gurl, why are you wearing heels at the airport? Why?? Anyway, our five day adventure finally began!
Every single day we went to at least four or five places. We followed almost every place Super Junior went to in the SEOUL song music video. A few highlights to mention would probably be, first, going to a korean music store. It’s like KPOP kingdom. Everything was there, I wanted to buy everything I saw. Second, meeting Yesung’s mom in his cafe, Handel and Gretel. Third, eating eating eating! Going to Seoul made me love Korean food even more, I loved their street food the most. Everything was pretty cheap, if you eat at the right places. Fourth, Seoul is very culture rich. Palaces are a train ride away. There are also places you can go to like Insadong to give you a feel of Korean culture. Lastly, everywhere we went to had KPOP! We were all KPOP fangirls, can you imagine how we felt seeing billboards and TV commercials with our favorite KPOP groups? and the best part, KPOP songs are everywhere! Some Korean sales ladies at Nature Republic in Myeongdong was giggling while watching us jam to F(x) while shopping for make up.
No party can ever replace this experience. I’m glad that I chose to travel with my friends than to have a party. Being in my favorite country, with my good friends, and being just a fangirl without anyone judging you, was the best feeling in the world. It’s been five years now since that trip and I’m glad that I’m coming back this year at the same month from my last visit. I’m extremely excited to be back and just be my Korean fangirl self.